NFIB Reacts to New Study Showing NY as “Least Free” State in America

Albany (March 28, 2013) A study by George Mason University ranking New York as the least free state in the country confirms what small business owners have known for a long time, said the National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB) today.

“This will surprise very few small business owners in New York and it’s another way of measuring the wide distance between what the politicians say and the policies they pursue,” said NFIB State Director Mike Durant.

The study, by George Mason University’s Mercatus Center, calculates the ranking based on dozens of policies affecting taxes, regulations, tort liability, property rights and a host of personal choices involving alcohol, tobacco, gun rights, marriage rights, gambling and education.  After all the weighting and number-crunching, New York comes out dead last.

“The fact is that for all the sound-bites and ad-buys, New York continues to lag behind the rest of the nation.”

As a business group, NFIB confines its focus to the economic freedoms measured in the report to which the Mercatus Center applies a high value.  That’s a very important point, said Durant.

“The social issues are important and our members have their own personal views that we do not represent.  But the personal freedoms have plenty of other advocates in Albany.  It’s the economic freedoms that are under assault in New York.”

Durant said that every one of the thousands of policies smothering freedom in New York is promoted under the banner of fairness, or justice, or equity, or security, or investment.  And the consequence of all of those good intentions is a sclerotic economy and a shrinking population.

“Millions of individuals and businesses have abandoned New York over the past decade and according to the Census they’ve gone to states with lower taxes and fewer regulations.”

Durant said that small businesses can’t survive in a state in which government injects itself into every private commercial activity and transaction.

“The big corporations will make their accommodations and find a way to absorb or avoid the cost of government,” said Durant.  “Small businesses can’t survive in a place where the focus is to tax everything, regulate everything, ban everything and subsidize everything.”

Click this link to view the study by George Mason University:

For more information about NFIB, please visit

About Mike Durant

Mike Durant was named New York State Director of NFIB in May 2011. Prior to joining NFIB as the Assistant State Director in May 2010, Durant began his career in the New York Senate working in the Office of Member Services. From there, he served in a number of positions during former New York Governor George E. Pataki’s administration. As a Research Specialist in the New York State Office of Demographic Policy, Mike was responsible for drafting a redistricting proposal for Governor Pataki. In addition, Mike served as a Research Specialist for the Empire State Development Corporation, as well as the Associate Commissioner of Human Resource Management with the New York Department of Labor. Durant also spent four years working at the Questar III BOCES as a specialist focusing on the complex formulas that drive aid to school districts across the state while also taking a lead role in the state legislative/budget process as it related to education policy. These past positions have given Mike a deep understanding of the complex political economics of the State of New York. Active in the community, Durant has served on a number of boards in both the village of Ballston Spa and Town of Milton. Durant received his bachelor’s degree from Siena College in Loudonville, New York and resides in Ballston Spa with his wife and two children.
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